Sudden Death (1995)

Film and Plot Synopsis

In Pittsburgh, Darren McCord is a disgraced firefighter who has taken a cushy job as the fire marshal for the Pittsburgh Civic Arena. During the seventh game of the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals, McCord brings his two kids to see the game while he works. Unbeknownst to McCord, a team of terrorists infiltrates the arena and takes the visiting Vice President of the United States and several other VIPs hostage. The terrorists threaten to blow up the arena at the end of the game unless the federal government transfers millions of dollars to offshore bank accounts. Fortunately, they did not count on McCord who is not only fighting to save every life in the arena, but the lives of his own children.

‘Sudden Death’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Sudden Death (1995)Darren McCord (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a firefighter for the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire. His current assignment is acting as the fire marshal for the Pittsburgh Civic Arena. He received that assignment after he was unable to save a young girl from a house fire two years prior. McCord is still haunted by the loss. McCord is working on the night of the seventh game of the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks. Darren takes his son Tyler (Ross Malinger) and his daughter Emily (Whittni Wright) to the game as a last-minute birthday gift for Tyler. McCord is divorced and shares custody with his ex-wife.

Unbeknownst to McCord, a group of terrorists infiltrate the arena with the purpose of taking the Vice President of the United States Daniel Binder (Raymond J. Barry) and several other VIPs hostage in a luxury suite. The terrorists are led by former CIA operative Joshua Foss (Powers Boothe) who has the entire arena wired with explosives. Foss’ plan is to blow up the arena with all the spectators in it at the end of the game if the government fails to transfer millions of dollars into his offshore accounts.

During the game, Tyler and Emily get into an argument while McCord is away working. Emily runs off and seeks the comfort of the team mascot Iceburgh, unaware that the original performer has been killed by Carla (Faith Minton), the sole female terrorist. Emily is kidnapped by Carla and taken to the luxury suite with the rest of the hostages. When McCord returns to his kids’ seats, he orders his son not to leave his seat under any circumstances before he goes looking for Emily. He finds Carla dressed as Iceburgh and realizes that something is amiss. When Carla tries to kill him, he evades her attacks and ends up killing her.

I’m having a bad day. Darren McCord

Afterwards, McCord seeks help from a security guard, but the guard is another terrorist in disguise. He and McCord fight. The terrorist reveals the criminal operation before being killed by McCord. Now aware of the extensive operation, McCord finds a mobile phone in the executive offices and uses it to contact Secret Service Agent Matthew Hallmark (Dorian Harewood), one of the agents outside the stadium trying to figure out a way into the arena that will not get everyone killed. Hallmark advises McCord to sit still and let the federal agents handle it. However, McCord refuses and says he will handle it himself.

Outside the stadium, the Secret Service and the Pittsburgh Police surround the arena and begin to approach. Foss begins blowing up random vehicles in the parking lot as a warning for law enforcement not to approach the building or he will blow up the arena. At the same time, McCord manages to find and disarm a few of the bombs while also killing a few more of the terrorists. However, Foss kills several hostages after the end of the first and second periods. Hallmark disregards Foss’ demands and makes his way into the stadium all by himself. He meets up with McCord, who explains where the rest of the bombs are most likely located. Hallmark reveals himself to be in league with Foss and tries to kidnap Tyler but fails. Once Hallmark meets up with McCord a second time, he reveals his duplicity to the firefighter. McCord sets Hallmark on fire and ultimately kills him. McCord then uses Hallmark’s phone to contact Foss, who taunts McCord that he is holding his daughter captive.

As the time ticks down for the game, McCord continues to disable bombs around the stadium. However, Foss’ men now are more proactively attacking him since they know where the bombs are, and they know that McCord is after them. To avoid capture or death, McCord dresses as the Pittsburgh goalie to escape the terrorists and enters the game. He successfully defends a shot on goal. As the third period runs down, Luc Robitaille scores a game-tying goal for Pittsburgh, sending the game into sudden death overtime.

McCord decides that there is no time to dismantle more bombs and heads to the roof of the arena. He fights off two of Foss’ henchmen, causing one of them to fall into the scoreboard, blowing it up. The fans begin to panic and start to flee from the stadium. Tyler stays in his seat, just as his father told him to do. McCord slides down a wire to the top of the owner’s box and forces his way in. He saves Emily, the Vice President, and the remaining hostages. McCord and Emily reunite with Tyler and the trio get set to leave the arena.

Meanwhile, Foss manages to escape and blends in with the panicking crowd. He sets off one of the bombs to cause more panic and further distract law enforcement. He encounters Emily who recognizes him, so he retakes her as a hostage. Foss and Emily head towards the top of the arena where the terrorist has a helicopter waiting for them. McCord follows and saves his daughter before Foss can shoot her. As Foss tries to get away, McCord shoots the helicopter pilot. The helicopter starts to stall and falls into the arena where it explodes upon impact with the ice, killing Foss.

McCord is treated by the EMS medical unit as his children tell the paramedics of his heroism. Tyler and Emily once again see their father as a hero. McCord is loaded into the back of an ambulance after having a long day.

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Universal Pictures released Sudden Death on December 22, 1995. Peter Hyams directed the film starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe, and Raymond J. Barry.

User Rating: 2.33 ( 3 votes)
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